The Renaissance art in Puglia and Basilicata is much less known than the heavily touristed and much studied sites in central Italy. Life-sized painted sculptures, many carved out of local stone, inhabit rough-walled cave churches and elaborate classically inspired mausolea. An elegantly attired angel hacks repeatedly at a cowering dragon, a saint looks unperturbed as her fingers sink into a lion’s mouth, a mother grins toothily as she cuddles her baby, and shepherds blow into bagpipes while stone sheep graze nearby. Artists placed holy narratives in spaces like the rocky landscape around them, and dressed sacred personages in local dress, while at the same time harkening back to an ancient past shrouded in myth and mystery. The art is both distinctively local and cosmopolitan, drawing upon influences from around the Adriatic and beyond. This open access database offers high-resolution images of and information about (with a catalog entry and bibliography for each work) over 100 objects, along with an interactive digital map. Approximately 1,000 high-resolution photographs can be downloaded and used free of charge for research, teaching, and publication. This database was created by Claire Litt and Una D’Elia (Queen’s University).
In addition to supporting scholarship on this understudied region by offering open access photographs, this database is a rich resource for teaching, as students can carry out research, curate, and publish their own virtual exhibitions using the database. (Links to undergraduate and graduate student exhibitions are provided on the homepage.)
The mountains and lakes of Lombardy and Piedmont are both picturesque and rich with little-known cultural heritage. In the Renaissance and Baroque, northern Italy, which bordered Protestant lands, was central to promoting and supporting the Catholic faith. Life-sized painted sculptures made of wood, terracotta, and other materials were arranged to create naturalistic tableaux in chapels on holy mountains (Sacri Monti), pilgrimage sites which the devout visited at night, whipping themselves before sculptures must have seemed to come to life by the flickering light of lanterns. Sculpted bodies with a range of skin tones, some thin from suffering and illness and others Herculean in their muscular energy, have actual hair and are bound with real ropes or eat from real dishes. Other fleshy sculptures inhabit huge, theatrical altarpieces. Many of these living statues continue to be the focus of cult today and so are adorned with real jewelry and other offerings made by the faithful. These sculptures are site specific, embedded in the landscape, politics, and devotional practices of the region, but also the work of cosmopolitan artists and patrons with international connections. This database offers high-resolution images of and information about over 185 sculptures and sculptural groups, along with an interactive digital map. The information is in the form of a catalog entry with bibliography for each sculpture or sculptural group. Over 1,300 high-resolution photographs are available for download and can be used free of charge for research, teaching, and publication. This database was created by Kennis Forte and Una D’Elia (Queen’s University).
In addition to supporting scholarship in this understudied area by offering open access photographs that can be published free of charge, this database is a rich resource for teaching, as students can carry out research, curate, and publish their own virtual exhibitions using the database (links to undergraduate and graduate student exhibitions provided on the homepage).
This collaborative website is devoted to epics from across the globe, including epic narratives in theatrical dramatizations, puppetry arts, music, visual art, and film. It aims likewise to showcase websites and teaching resources developed by colleagues featuring both literary and oral epics, from the ancient world to today. Several Renaissance epics are included. Inquiries and submissions welcome.
The eBOIARDO website features theatrical, musical, and artistic representations based on Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, and other Italian Renaissance romance epics. The site contains numerous videos of chivalric adaptations staged in Sicilian opera dei pupi and the epic Maggio tradition of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
Renaissance Polychrome Sculpture in Tuscany is an open-access database of high-resolution photographs of and information (with a catalog entry and bibliography for each sculpture) about over 350 objects. Thousands of photographs are freely available for download and can be used without charge in research, teaching, and publication. An interactive digital map, colour coded by material, shows the current location of each object. The database would be of interest to scholars and students of art, materials and techniques, miraculous images, portraiture, gender representations, domestic devotion, altarpieces, hagiography, the history of childhood, orphanages, hospitals, pilgrimages, color, the surface or skin of an object, and other topics. (This database was created by Una D’Elia, Heather Merla, Rachel Boyd, and Bronwyn Bond, working with a team of librarians at Queen’s University, headed by Rosarie Coughlin.)
This  dissertation is the first study devoted to François de Billon and his book “Le Fort inexpugnable de l’honneur du sexe femenin” (1555), though his name crops up in works on feminism as a strong defender of women and the historian of the “Querelle des Femmes”. Billon serves as the basis for Abel Lefranc’s judgment that Rabelais was the misogynist par excellence, and that the “Tiers Livre” is Rabelais’s participation in the “Querelle des Femmes” (1904). This view has been disputed in recent years, and a closer study of Billon should elucidate this question.
A careful analysis of this work, aided by research of biographical and historical nature, shows that the prime interest of Billon was not a defense of women but a defense of secretaries and particularly those working in the interest of the Kingdom of France. Convinced that women and secretaries both suffer from unjustified contempt, and that they should be judged according to their individual merit, Billon joins the party of the defenders of women in the hope they in turn will help his own kind. By ignoring the last third part of the book, devoted to the greatness of France, and the divine mission of the King of France and his helpers (his secretaries), critics have overlooked Billon’s real interest: his belief in the prophecies of Guillaume Postel and his fervent patriotism. His adherence to the ideas of Postel and his admiration for him explain his antagonism to Rabelais, giving it a very personal slant and disqualifying him as an objective judge of Rabelais’s ideas. This study shows that even though Billon understands the essence of women’s griefs, he is no historian of the “Querelle” and is a participant only in so far that he believes all human beings should be judged on their merit instead of their birth, thus expressing some aspirations of the educated bourgeoisie and the rising class of fonctionnaires. This conviction results in interesting commentaries on events and persons of his times that lead the modern reader to a better understanding of 16th-century society.
The Working Group on Slavery and Visual Culture is an interdisciplinary forum created to discuss research related to images of slavery and the slave trade as well as the creation and use of images and objects by enslaved peoples and slaveholders. Our aim is to explore the multivalent relationship between slavery and visual cultures, examining themes such as visuality and memory of the slave trade; the role of the gaze and surveillance in slave societies and societies with slaves; regional comparisons of visual regimes associated with slavery; visual culture’s connection to racialized regimes of slavery; and the roles played by self-fashioning and the accumulation of visual capital by the enslaved.
The images in Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. Our growing collection currently has over 1,200 images. This website is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public – in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World.
This is the companion website for the “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa” The site includes in-depth information about the Caravans of Gold exhibition, including images and information about key objects and artworks from the exhibition, interviews with experts, and resources to support teaching and learning.”
Scholarly commentaries on the history of disease, selected from digitized primary sources from Harvard University’s libraries and museums, with an introduction to the project written by Hannah Marcus and Allan M. Brandt.